In a huge success for the Pune police, eight people with Maoist links have been raided in relation to the Bhima Koregaon violence. The police had already suggested that the violence was a planned act. Widespread violence and arson took grip over Maharashtra after the organisation of Elgaar Parishad, a one day conference that celebrated a British victory masqueraded as victory of Maharas (Dalits) over the Marathas in the Bhima Koregaon battle in 1817.
Pune city police has conducted searches at the residences of Sudhir Dhawale, Harshali Potdar , Jatiantachi Chalwal in Mumbai, Sagar Gorkhe, Deepak Dhengle, Ramesh Gaichor and his wife Jyoti Jagtap. Apart from this, searches were also conducted at the residences of activist Rona Wilson in Delhi and lawyer Surendra Gadling in Nagpur. Sudhir Dhawale and Harshali Potdar are members of the Republican Panthers (RP), which is an organisation that espouses extremist communism in the garb of empowering the Dalits and the downtrodden. The commendable action was taken by the police in wake of a complaint filed in connection with the one-day conference. Dhawale, Potdar, Gorkhe, Dhengle, Gaichor and Jyoti Jagtap have already been booked by the police under Section 153A of the Indian Paenal Code. They have been charged with the offence of spreading enmity among different groups. It was alleged in the complaint that the conference was central to the violence that was incited in the Bhima Koregaon region a day after the conference took place.
Some of the accused mentioned above belong to the Kabir Kala Manch (KKM). Interestingly, investigation agencies have proceeded in the past against Potdar, Dhawale and the members of Kabir Kala Manch in connection to Maoist links. Lawyer and self acclaimed activist Surendra Gadling has also appeared as the defense counsel for several Maoist activists like GN Saibaba. The police team has seized documents and a hard disk from his residence. The FIR also states that the violence abetted in the region was a part of a well thought out conspiracy of the CPI (Maoist). The idea was to mislead the Dalits about the battle, and to incite violence by spreading hatred amongst them. These urban naxals were the main organisers of the Elgaar Parishad. Gadling and Wilson had links with the organisers of the casteist conference. The police have stated that the searches were conducted in order to discover further evidence in the matter.
Interestingly, a separate complaint has been registered by Akshay Bikkad against the radical ideologue and Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani, known for raking up caste differences, and the pro-separatist leader Umar Khalid for giving inflammatory speeches at the Elgaar Parishad.
This is by far the biggest expose of the urban activist maoist link. The authorities and the police have nailed them and nailed them hard. This should also serve as a warning to the radical ideologues who espouse violent forms of communism and then take objection when someone conveys their urban naxal identity. The fact remains that there is an active link between the Maoists and a section of urban radicals impersonating as social activists. As far as the inflammatory and divisive speeches at the Elgaar Parishad are concerned, it is shameful how a war between the Marathas and the imperialist British of the time was used for encouraging casteism and false caste pride. Even if we were to believe in the wildest of our dreams that it was in fact a victory of Mahars over Marathas, what does that prove? Why should someone celebrate the victory of one ‘caste’ over another? When we have decided that we have to get rid of casteism and discrimination, it should be applied in letter and spirit and not on a select few. Liberalism and false caste pride cannot be a one-way traffic. The police should continue with the stern approach that they have taken, and take on those who organised this hideous conference.